Unikernels have demonstrated enormous advantages over Linux in many important domains, causing some to propose that the days of Linux’s dominance may be coming to an end. On the contrary, we believe that unikernels’ advantages represent the next natural evolution for Linux, as it can adopt the best ideas from the unikernel approach and, along with its battle-tested codebase and large open source community, continue to dominate. In this paper, we posit that an up- streamable unikernel target is achievable from the Linux kernel, and, through an early Linux unikernel prototype, demonstrate that some simple changes can bring dramatic performance advantages.
In the 1960s-1970s, Ken Thompson co-invented the UNIX operating system along with Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs. He also worked on the language B, the operating system Plan 9, and the language Go. He and Ritchie won the Turing Award. He now works at Google. He’ll be interviewed Brian Kernighan of “K&R” fame.